What you need to know about the changing landscape of retail pharmacy

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Several significant trends are transforming the retail pharmacy industry. These include digital pharmacy, point-of-care testing, and medication management platforms. While these are exciting developments, you also need to know several things before deciding to enter this field. This article explores some of these trends.

Digital pharmacies

As digital pharmacy services continue to grow and evolve, the retail pharmacist’s role is also changing. As consumers increasingly focus on wellness, convenience and personalized health care, retail pharmacists are asked to play a more critical role. In addition, technological breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence and robotics are changing the value chain and transforming how the healthcare industry works. These changes present new opportunities and challenges for retail pharmacists, but those who can adapt quickly can make significant strides.

Several startups are competing for customers and disrupting the retail pharmacy industry. The digital pharmacy industry is at a crossroads. It could follow the path of mail-order pharmacies or forge a new path, forcing traditional retail pharmacies to adopt more competitive practices. To succeed, digital pharmacies must provide three key features: accessibility, convenience, and a personal touch. Tracking their growth can help pharmacy stakeholders understand how to best respond to and prepare for disruption.

Point-of-care testing

Point-of-care testing (POCT) has become a valuable revenue stream for retail pharmacies. Among the benefits of point-of-care testing are increased access and convenience. Patients who become more consumer-minded expect fast and convenient access to healthcare services. Community pharmacies have been challenged to expand their clinical expertise to meet this demand. In addition to offering point-of-care testing, pharmacies pursue initiatives such as flu and strep testing. 

POC testing is a vital part of healthcare. It is helpful for patients and offers pharmacists a new opportunity to expand services in the community. Recent data show that 75% of adult patients who visit a physician for pharyngitis receive antibiotics due to a positive test. However, less than five percent of such cases are caused by bacteria, and viruses cause the most. A pharmacist with experience in diagnosing pharyngitis can provide appropriate therapy based on the results.

Medication management platforms

As consumers increasingly experience multiple chronic conditions, a higher-touch clinical support model is becoming more appealing. With a single point of contact for all their prescriptions, a medication management platform creates a single source of medicines and offers patients a single source for medication management. This trend has a range of implications for the retail pharmacy industry.

For example, a pharmacy that provides medication management services is more likely to have more satisfied customers. A higher patient satisfaction rating can result in a higher reimbursement rate. It also allows pharmacies to provide better care to patients. With a platform, patients can access their doctors, fill prescriptions, and monitor their progress.

Pharmacies can use a medication management platform to track and report the results of patient tests. Integrated revenue cycle management and claims remittance capabilities can also benefit pharmacies. Combining these three features, a medication management platform can help pharmacists better serve patients and increase revenue.

3D printing

In recent years, the 3D printing of medical devices has gained international attention. The technology can create personalized medical devices. 

3D printing can be a viable solution to many pharmaceutical issues. It can be easier to create solid dosage forms and decrease costs. Moreover, it can help make pharmaceutical products available to patients. For example, 3D printing will allow pharmacists to develop personalized treatment plans for patients.

Three-D printing also offers the benefit of versatility, particularly when it comes to orphan drugs. For example, a 3D printer can print many different tablets, from capsules to tablets that can dissolve instantly. For pharmaceutical companies, 3D printing is especially valuable because it allows them to produce many medications.

In addition, 3D printing on a large scale is more cost-effective than tableting, as it allows manufacturers to design more complex geometries. The process also allows manufacturers to produce smaller drug batches, making 3D printing a very competitive option in the pharmaceutical industry.

Drones

As drone technology advances, pharmacies can take advantage of new delivery models. Drones, for instance, can reach rural areas more efficiently and transport packages at a fraction of the cost. In Finland, for example, the ByDrone Helsinki pilot program allows customers to order non-prescription items via drone. Upon receipt of the order, customers receive a text message informing them when the product will be delivered. They are then given ample time to pick up the package.

While drone delivery presents several benefits over traditional methods, there are a variety of potential risks and concerns. These products could be altered or degraded throughout the flight if not adequately protected. 

Drones will also reduce the time needed for the delivery of packages. A package can take 24 hours to arrive at a destination, but drones can reach most places in 30 minutes. As a result, these new delivery services will fill the gap left by mail-order pharmacies.

Telehealth

In the rapidly evolving healthcare environment, the role of technology in the consumer pharmacy journey is transforming. The emergence of digital health solutions allows retailers and other major stakeholders to address a range of consumer needs. These solutions include care management, telehealth, and online patient counselling. These technologies also allow community pharmacies to expand their offerings and incorporate clinical services. These innovations require proper integration with the retail pharmacy workflow and management of operating costs.

With the rise of mobile technology, pharmacy assistant are increasingly able to provide more personalized service. Many patients, particularly those with chronic conditions, value the ability to consult their pharmacist from their mobile devices. But in the past, pharmacists have faced challenges in transferring patient data. This technology makes it easier for pharmacists to provide quality care while facilitating consumer convenience.

Telehealth providers also need to partner with physicians. A recent study found that 76% of patients choose telehealth over face-to-face care and prefer the convenience of digital over face-to-face care. It is a positive sign, but there are still a variety of barriers to widespread adoption.

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